{Is the|May be the|Will be the} Swelling on My Dog’s Elbow a Tumor or a Hygroma?

This post was originally published on this site

Kelly Serfas, a Certified Veterinary Technician in Bethlehem, PA, contributed to {this article|this short article|this informative article}.

Several types of swellings can occur {near the|close to the|nearby the} elbow:

  • Benign tumors
  • Cancerous tumors
  • Hygromas

If you notice swelling {on your|on the|in your} dog’ s elbow, don’ t panic. Even cancerous tumors may be treatable, {and the|as well as the|plus the} bump may not be a tumor at all. Schedule an appointment {with your|together with your|along with your} veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian will be able to determine the cause of the swelling. If it turns out to be a hygroma, here’ s {what you should|what you need to|what you ought to} know.

What is a hygroma?
A hygroma {is a|is really a|is actually a} non-painful swelling at the tip of the elbow, on top of the “ funny bone” (called the olecranon). This swelling is full of fluid. In theory, a hygroma can occur in other locations, but is most common {at the|in the|on the} elbow. It can happen {in one|in a single|in a} elbow or occasionally both.

Which breeds can be affected by a hygroma?
{This condition is|This problem is|This disorder is} usually seen in large or giant breed dogs. {Of course|Obviously|Needless to say} there are exceptions: it can happen in smaller breeds .

Short-haired dogs {are more|tend to be more|are definitely more} commonly affected. Dogs {with long|with firm|using firm} hair are thought to have more “padding” because of their long fur, but hygromas can occur {in any|in a|in different} breed.

Why does a hygroma mostly occur in young dogs?
Puppies (typically 6 to 18 months), have normal skin over their elbows. As they grow they experience gentle trauma {to the|towards the|for the} skin over the elbow. {In response|In answer|Reacting}, the skin thickens and forms a callus to protect itself. This is similar to the bottom of human feet. As babies start walking and running, the bottom of their feet becomes thicker and more protective.

What causes a hygroma?
A hygroma is caused by repeated trauma to the tissue {around the|round the|across the} tip of the elbow {when the|once the|if the} dog rests on a hard surface (hardwood floor, tile, concrete etc).

How will my vet diagnose a hygroma?
A hygroma is presumed based on breed, age {and appearance|and look}. Your family vet will need to {make sure the|guarantee the} swelling is not a tumor. Confirmation can be provided by {taking a|having a|going for a} sterile sample of the fluid with a needle and syringe. Care needs to be taken {not to|to not|never to} drive bacteria from the skin into the swelling or an abscess may develop. The fluid sample can be {sent to|delivered to|brought to} the lab for analysis {if there is|when there is|if you have} still a doubt.

How is a simple hygroma treated?
{If the|When the|In the event the} hygroma is treated early, or at its first and uncomplicated stage, treatment {may be|might be|can be} as easy as changing your dog’ s hard bedding to a well-padded surface. You can place several beds around the house, especially on hard surfaces where {your dog|your pet|your puppy} likes to lay down. Sometimes a bandage is needed around the elbow. Veterinarians may suggest other treatments, including:

  • Injection of medications
  • A splint
  • Removing the fluid
  • Placement of bandages  

These treatments may or may not {have any effect|work} so continue to work with your veterinarian if they are recommended.

When is surgery needed to treat a hygroma?
A hygroma is called “ complicated” {when it|in order to|mainly because it} becomes infected or ulcerated. “ Ulcerated” means that {there is an|it has an|it comes with an} ulcer, a hole, or an open wound in the skin. Think of it as a pressure sore. If this happens, surgery may be {necessary to|essential to|required to} solve the problem. In this {day and age|era|time period}, surgery is typically used when all other options have failed.

After surgery, your vet will need to {clean the|brush your|clean your} infection up and possibly {place a|create a} drain to allow the fluid to continue to drain {until the|till the|before the} area is healed. Bandages may be placed to protect the surgical site and keep the drain clean.

Eventually, the body will create {a natural|an all natural|an organic} callus at the point {of the|from the|in the} elbow to provide protection.

What is the care needed at home after hygroma surgery?
Pain medications and antibiotics {will need to be|will have to be} given at home. If a bandage was applied after surgery to protect the drain, {it will need|it’ll need} to be changed multiple times. It’ s important to understand that surgery fixes the problem, but it {does not|will not|would not} prevent a recurrence. {So you|Which means you|Therefore you} have a critical role in protecting your dog’ s elbow from future trauma. The type of flooring and bedding provided is very important. Again, the goal is to prevent {contact with|connection with|exposure to} hard surfaces and pressure on the elbow.

What if my dog won’ t use the doggie beds?
Certainly, some dogs can be a little bit stubborn. Some companies sell a special contraption that protects the elbow. You should discuss this with your veterinarian first. It’ s great {because it|since it|as it} protects the elbow from repeated injury. However , {the more|the greater|a lot more} you protect the elbow, the less likely it is to {develop a|create a|produce a} protective callus.

There are also multiple bedding options

  • Sheepskin bedding
  • Thick fleece
  • Egg-crate foam
  • Thick rubber mats
  • etc …

All can be protected with a cover for easy cleaning

What can I expect after hygroma surgery?
Simple hygromas usually heal nicely within a few weeks. Complicated hygromas can be much harder to treat successfully, so the outcome is more difficult to predict. {Your family|Your loved ones|Your household} vet may refer {you to|you to definitely|one to} a board-certified surgeon when reconstructive surgery is needed. {In the|Within the|Inside the} vast majority of cases, {we can|we are able to|we could} achieve good to excellent results.

If you have any questions or concerns, {you should always|it is best to|it is recommended to} visit or call your veterinarian – they are {your best|your very best|your better} resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.